Hezbollywood: Photog accuses stringers of digging up bodies? (Update: Photos added)

posted at 6:46 pm on August 12, 2006 by Allahpundit

I’m adding the question mark because we don’t know yet if the guy who said it is who he says he is. But if it’s trueif — then Ace is right: it’s “a serious, meltdown level scandal for the media.”

It’s worth reading the whole thread at Lightstalkers, not only for the blog-bashing and grotesque moral equivalence (“Israel is no different than Saudia Arabia or Egypt when it comes to oppressing people”), but because the guy who made the accusation showed up and left a second comment:

hi all,

sorry to have not been specific. just to make this clear. i was not in qana and am not referring to the massacre that took place there. i have been covering beirut, and it was at numerous protest, evacuations as well as the israeli strikes in chiyeh, which unfortunately did not get that much coverage in the media—where i saw this behavior occur. i have also heard from friends of mine in lebanon, respected photographers, that this was not an isolated incident.

unfortunately in each of these cases, it was the lebanese wire photographers that started these situations. that said, i am not trying to make generalizations. i know that there are a number of dedicated and brilliant lebanese photographers here who are putting themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to document what is happening here in their country, and in hindsight, i realize it was irresponsible for me to post the previous statement because it was not specific enough. however, this has been something i’ve noticed happening here, more than any other place i’ve worked previously.

i agree that there is a lot of pressure, particularly on stringers (i myself am a freelancer), due to cost cutting and how the big image banks pay their non-staff photographers, and while unfortunate events like qana and chiyeh require the utmost responsiblity, seeing it happen for things like protests and evacuations is equally as disturbing and doesn’t bode well.

again, i am terribly sorry for rattling the saber so hard….re-reading my words I too should have been a bit more responsible.

by Bryan Denton Fri Aug 11 16:27:35 UTC 2006 | Beirut, Lebanon |

“Not an isolated incident.” Buckle up.

Update: There are lots of photos from Chiyeh — alternate spelling “Chiyah” — on the wires right now. Photos like this one:

chiyah1.jpg

And this one:

chiyah2.jpg

And this one:

chiyah3.jpg

Denton’s accusation on Lightstalkers: “i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms.”

Update: More wisdom from Ace: “Bryan, unfortunately, by telling the truth that the media doesn’t want the public to know, you have now opened yourself to a smear campaign which will be ferocious and ugly.”

Denton has a website.

Update: More photos from Chiyeh, this time spelled “Shiyah,” at Getty. Click and use the search box in the upper left and you’ll see.

Update: Even more photos on Yahoo with the spelling “Chiah.” Ace has a good one. More:

chiah1.jpg

chiah2.jpg

chiah3.jpg

And of course, the obligatory Koran-in-the-rubble shot:

chiah4.jpg

Update: Another nice catch by Dan Riehl, this time regarding the AP’s whitewash of Green Helmet. Does she write pieces like that because she’s bureau chief in Iran? Or is she bureau chief in Iran because she writes pieces like that?

Update: Time for me to eat some crap. Bob Owens e-mailed me the link to this post of his the other day, and I e-mailed back saying he was making too much of it, that the bodies were probably partially exposed in the rubble and the rescue teams had merely covered the exposed parts with a sheet.

Bob just e-mailed and told me to look again. The photo comes from Chiah. His explanation just got a lot more plausible.


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Daaaamn, check out the post “by Bob Black Sat Aug 12 14:27:33″ on the Lightstalkers thread. It’s pretty good writing, but what is going on with these journalists’ minds? “Bob Black” also compliments the John Patrick Naughton letter: “Israel is no different than Saudia Arabia or Egypt,” “follow the money, follow the rage.” “Photography is a weapon”– indeed, and perhaps therapy for some, too.

Alex K on August 12, 2006 at 7:45 PM

I had a feeling some of these were staged a while ago. I should have said something earlier, but ya know…you just hope people in your industry aren’t that deceitful and pitiful. I just can NOT get my mind around pulling dead kids bodies out of dirt and trucks over and over again for an effect. When Green Helmet, and his crew, turned that dead kids head, I shuddered. I could not believe anyone could be that empty of heart.
GET RID OF THEM NOW- DONT EVER PRINT THEIR IMAGES AGAIN.

shooter on August 12, 2006 at 8:25 PM

On a previous post I noted that Tucker Carlson revealed these propaganda pieces. One about a five-year-old girl killed by an Israeli rocket attack with photographs in the hospital. Only problem, the girl was killed before the rocket attack by falling from a swing set. But, the media bought it big time.

This war is a collaboration between the western media and Hezbollah, and it is out an out, anti-Israeli Propaganda campaign.

Umnumzana on August 12, 2006 at 8:30 PM

Given what we already know for certain, if this is completley true in one region, (or even widespread), I, for one, will not be the slightest bit surprised.

LegendHasIt on August 13, 2006 at 1:06 AM

Dang, it’s gettin so a body can’t get a peaceful burial around these parts anymore.

Khyber Pass on August 13, 2006 at 12:39 PM

“One picture is worth a thousand words” ..it has been this way since it was invented. Being able to “see” something instead of “hearing” about something is MUCH more powerful! And people KNOW that..proganda isnt limited to WORDS/radio broadcasts..PICTURES…”seeing is believing”..well now you know a dirty little secret in photography..sometimes “seeing” isnt to BE believed! Freelancers/stringers are ONLY as good as their last shot to the wire services. IF you dont produce something SENSATIONAL and you are in an area where people just “KNOW” something is happening, you wont be paid, you wont be carried and you wont be USED. So it should come as NO surprise to ANYONE in the photography industry that this has happened..it has happened before and will happen again as long as photogs with an AGENDA and in need of a PAYCHECK are used.

labwrs on August 13, 2006 at 2:08 PM

As a novice to international politics, and the corresponding journalism, it’s an interesting situation for me to see unfold. I’m starting to appreciate the “regulation” that blogs and editorials provide to the journalist community. The problem that I see is the unwillingness for the media to investigate their own, or members of their networks, fabrications. Most of the uncovering has been done through sites like this, and LGF…the media seems to react when fraud is found, only by pulling the images, or the story, and washing over the incident. I would like to see more digging into each respective collapse, but to use a useless and bad analogy…it’s like the friend who refuses to get that AIDS test for fear it may be positive…but continues to whore himself around…because as long as he doesn’t know, then he’s really not doing anything wrong.

StoutRepublican on August 14, 2006 at 12:21 AM